Doesn't live up to the promise that the first half showed
The general consensus, when it's not being maligned for lack of fidelity to the book, is that 'It' has a great first half but a disappointing second half. This reviewer agrees with that consensus, and has done ever since seeing the mini-series for the first time a decade ago.
Part 2 is not entirely shambolic, as there are moments, but there are also a lot of flaws and what potential the great first half showed is not lived up to here. Part 2 actually does start off well, with the most memorable encounters with It/Pennywise in the first half hour being with Richie and especially Beverly (which is one of the adaptation's most unsettling moments to me). The restaurant/fortune cookie scenes were suitably charming and then quite creepy.
While taking on a more comical edge than in Part 1, particularly in the library scene with Richie, as well as being used far less which dilutes the urgency and horror somewhat, Tim Curry is clearly relishing the character of Pennywise and is still quite frightening (especially the laughter and the throaty voice), just not as much as in the first half. Richard Bellis' music score is very atmospheric and haunting, scenery is nice and photography respectable.
However, it does go downhill after the fortune cookie scene, with a lot of clunky dialogue ("why is It so mean?" and the virgin line should never have been approved past first draft), pedestrian pacing (the motel scene drags a lot), scares being too far and between, parts that are not explained enough and lack logical sense and the chemistry between the adults doesn't have the same poignancy, urgency or 'Stand By Me'-ish nostalgia conveyed so brilliantly by the kids in the first half. The adults are also nowhere near as good as the children. Tim Reid (the rock of the group and the only one true to character, which Reid plays with grave dignity) and John Ritter give the best performances, though Harry Anderson has his moments (especially the impressions, though Richie is too much of a wimp and the library scene is underacted) and Annette O' Toole shows some genuine fright but badly over-compensates in other parts.
Richard Thomas is woefully miscast however, with a laughable attempt at a stutter, while Dennis Christopher is pretty dull and wet though sometimes moving. Olivia Hussey is pretty wasted too. The special effects continue to be less than special, but the nadirs of the whole adaptation are the rushed, ridiculous and anti-climactic final 15 minutes (one of the worst endings of any Stephen King adaptation) or so and an incredibly fake-looking spider representing It's true form.
Overall, has its moments and good parts but disappointing second half. 5/10 Bethany Cox
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?